Friday, August 29, 2008

Position Updates/Darwin Address

Received an email this morning from Phil Sutton in POM (Port Moresby):

"Zac arrived in port at approximately 2:30 pm. He looked pretty tired. After about 2 hours of waiting for customs and quarantine to come we finally got to meet him. He was going to put his dingy together and use it to shuttle back and forth to the club. First on his agenda was to get a shower and then back to the yacht for a long sleep. He will contact us tomorrow to go and get his visa at the airport since its the weekend."

Zac arriving in Port Moresby

Photo courtesy of Mr. Phill Sutton

Zac's position updates:

08/20/08 0432UTC 08 deg 53' S, 165 deg 18' E

08/21/08 0424UTC 10 deg 36' S, 163 deg 25' E

08/22/08 0258UTC 11 deg 52' S, 161 deg 27' E

08/23/08 0300UTC 11deg 49' S, 159 deg 39' E

08/24/08 0350UTC 12 deg 15'.986" S, 156 deg 45'.490" E

08/25/08 0357UTC 12 deg 26'.198" S, 154 deg 33'.540" E

08/26/08 0408UTC 12 deg 14'.810" S, 152 deg 03'.842" E

08/27/08 0400UTC 11 deg 44'.344" S, 149 deg 43'.211" E

08/28/08 0255UTC 10 deg 50'.767" S, 147 deg 43'.973" E

08/28/08 2251UTC 09 deg 51'.220" S, 146 deg 56'.743" E

08/29/08 0500UTC 09 deg 29'.180" S, 147 deg 09'.210" E (approx)

You'll notice that the format of Zac's position changed on 08/24/28. This was done to provide more accuracy with Zac's exact position because of navigational issues (ie reefs, islands, currents etc). The way we had been writing his position was meant to be degrees and minutes only. Because of the way it was written, it looked like we were posting degrees and decimals of degrees which can mean as much of a difference as 24 miles. As David Morris succinctly put it, that doesn't matter much in the open ocean but certainly does when you are navigating reefs etc. From now on the position will have degrees, minutes and decimals of minutes which is how Zac's chart plotter shows his position.

Darwin address:

Mr. Zac Sunderland
c/- Darwin G.P.O.
Cavanagh Street
Darwin, NT 0800

Mark it: 'To Be Collected'

Zac should be arriving in Darwin in about 2 weeks and staying for at least a week. If it seems that mail will take too long to arrive, you can always mail it to Zac's mail box here at: 1710 N. Moorpark Road #212, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360 though I'm sure that is not as fun!

More info when Zac wakes up!


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Port Moresby - Day 1

Hello All,
It's late here and Zac is pretty busy getting the boat ready for customs so I will give a brief update now.
Zac is sitting in the quarantine/customs lagoon on a mooring awaiting the Papua New Guinea customs agents. Somehow he managed to sail into the harbor...we'll have to get more info in that tomorrow. He had had a pretty rough night last night with heavy winds (30 knots gusting to 35) and those big, steep swells that I'm sure he will always remember. He tacked off course some to avoid getting in too early and ended up arriving later than expected.
So our boy is safe for now and will have the engine looked at right away to evaluate any damage.

On another note: Laurence will be speaking tomorrow night at the Beachcomber Tavern in Oxnard. They are avid sailors and boaters and have been following him since he was at the yard not so far from them in Ventura. They have graciously offered to give all tips from the evening to Zac to cover expenses and repairs. Their address is: 206 Ocean Dr Oxnard, CA 93035
(805) 985-6030‎ I believe things will get started around 7:30pm. He will speak for a bit on Zac and his trip and then call Zac and have a question and answer time. The tavern is a rather small place (has been there for 70 years!). If some of you from the LA area are interested in something like this, we are arranging another talk after Darwin in late September in the West LA area.

Thank you for your support!

Team Zac

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

From Dad

G'day to all,
Just been asked to jump in and give an update on behalf of Zac and the family. As we all know Zac has been doing a remarkable job out there. He has been meeting his challenges head on and intelligently, always being sure not be over confident and exercising humility. Well alright I'm just that proud dad, and yes at the same time I have to exercise humility also. I realize that there has been much accomplished and also much yet to accomplish.

After discussing in detail the problem with Zac's new Yanmar engine, we needed to make some serious decisions. Apparently the oil pressure alarm was going off. After checking the oil which appeared to be fine and at the correct level, we looked at the possibility of a faulty pressure switch or moisture on the engine wire harness causing the alarm to go off. Before he had gotten stuck into the wiring harness, he decided to take a look at the oil a little more closely and found indeed that water had found it's way into the engine. Now you may ask, "How did that happen in a brand new engine?". Well the fairies in the middle of the night come in and put water in the engine (just joking!). This probably occurred while Zac was running with the heavier sea conditions as the transom (the blunt end of boat) is being forced down and the sea is being forced up into the exhaust into the mixing pot (this not a cooking implement) and into the exhaust manifold at the engine.
It was decided to have Zac make landfall in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea to address the situation properly. Although Zac is disappointed, he understands the seriousness of what lies ahead in the Torres Strait and how there is very little room for error there. We have been putting wheels into motion in Port Moresby to have the situation taken care off. Fortunately the engine can still run which would mean nominal damage. With a good engine flush, new oil and filter and a one-way valve put in the exhaust line all should be well. The folks at the Royal Papua New Guinea Yacht Club and our liaison Mr. Phil Sutton have been fabulous. They have arranged everything for Zac's arrival including a tow through the natural coral reef break water, calling customs out, a slip for a few days, a mechanic and transportation while in port.
The encouragement and support that has been shown here is truly appreciated and I know it helps Zac through those tough times.
Cheers to all,
Laurence, dad

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Mom/Zac Post

Since there is a lot going on these days I asked Zac if he minded me making a post on his behalf. Always happy to get out of work, he happily agreed. You all probably don't believe me, do you? You think that Zac is this super teen who always does what he is supposed to? Just joking...but it is a big team effort to get him where he needs to be with the supplies and equipment he needs etc. Laurence and Zac are trying to determine what issues there may be with the engine. They are going through systems on the phone making certain that Zac has everything in place for the rest of this leg. They are planning what jobs/repairs need to be done in Darwin. I am coordinating with people in Darwin regarding customs, immigration, marinas, boatyards, hotels etc. I have been quizzing Zac on his route through the Torres Strait. Somehow I feel better if I know it also...doesn't really make sense. Zac is in communication with routers, meteorologists, authors and people who have just done it before.
Please know that we get a lot of emails everyday. I forward all of the fan mail to Zac on the boat. He cannot receive photos of any kind or attachments. Email size can be no more than 10kb. There are sometimes many days that go by and he hasn't picked up his mail for various reasons. He definitely doesn't have time to answer very many. He really enjoys getting them so please feel free to send but don't be too dissappointed if you don't hear back from him right away.

Note from Zac:
I had another really good night. No ships and no squalls. It is still hard to sleep deeply because I am afraid I might sleep through an alarm. I am running low on rain water so am hoping for another squall to refill them. I have made a slight course change on to my next waypoint and now I am running with it more which is more comfortable. I am studying my cruising guides and preeping for my run through the Strait. I have entered a bunch of waypoints into my GPS so I can track my route from anywhere on the boat. I am feeling pretty confident that with all the planning and preparation I will be fine.

PS: From Rory's blog comment questions:

Q: What's the ocean smell like?
A: I don't really smell anything. Some people say that your sense of smell is improved but I have not noticed that - yet.
Q: Do U smell diesel fuel or only when the engines are running?
A: Only when the engines are running.
Q: Do U run your engine daily to recharge the batteries?
A: No, I have only run my engine to recharge my batteries a few times. With all of the wind I have been having, I have more than enough generated by my wind generator and solar panels.
Q: Many kid's think that once the sun sets it's all storms, lightning, and nasty seas. Please clarify.
A: (laughing) Sometimes it is but it varies everyday.
Q: Is it warm enough for a salt water shower?
A: Probably but I haven't had one. I have had showers and washed my hair in a rain storm from a squall a few times.
Q: Is the chair at the tiller comfortable to sit in for long spells?
A: It isn't really a chair but it is comfortable.
Q: How much water U have for food/drink.
A: Lots
Q: Do U talk to yourself?
A: No
Q: Do U have good sound system? Tunes cranked?
A: I have an excellent sound system. I have played the same CD over 100 times because my ipods are dead.
Q: If U could have one piece of equipment on board that U don't have currently have, what would it be?
A: A new ipod!

PPS: If you didn't know that there are comments at the end of each blog, you are missing out on some great fun!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Oh Ship!

I had a great night last night. I only had 3 small squalls that I didn't have to get up for. I actually had a decent night's sleep. I got on the Rag on the Air radio net this morning and spoke with Moana who are still living it up in the Solomon Islands. This will be the last time I am able to talk to them. I am getting too far away to get good reception. I can't remember what frequency the Sheila Net is on so if someone knows, please post it as a comment or email to which is my land-based email address.

I made some oatmeal and wrote a list of jobs for the day:
clean up salon (living room)
clean up water on salon floor
unlog scuppers (drains) in cockpit
sort out lines on deck
clean out combing boxes
clean out Vberth
get easy, quick food ready for Torres Strait passage
check email - I found the power supply, Mike. Thanks!

Unfortunately, I spent a lot of today watching out for the 7 ships that came across my path. I had to tack and beat into the wind for awhile to avoid colliding with one ship. All of my cleaning up in the salon was undone.

Spent the rest of the day studying and troubleshooting systems with Dad on the phone. It is vitally important that all systems are fully functioning. I had trouble starting my engine during a routine check last week. It fixed itself which is not very encouraging because I don't know when it will unfix itself.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Last night the wind did lay down and I was able to get more sleep than usual. There were only 3 squalls and a little lightning. (Can't believe I am saying that!) I spoke with Moana last night for the forst time in a few days. They have been having a great time in Gizo sleeping, eating and all of the other things you can't do much of at sea. It was great to talk with them. They got an email from Lady Sarah. They have finally arrived in Vancouver, Canada. While they were entering the channel there they had 60+ knots of wind. They have an awesome 50' sailboat in perfect condition. They said that it got totally trashed inside. They were on the radio with the Coast Guard for a lot of it - pretty terrifying!
I have been missing the Rag on the Air radio net more and more because my time zone is changing and I often get to sleep in the early morning. It is prbably time to start listening in for the Sheila Net out of Oz (Australia).
The swells this morning were massive and steep. I think they must have been about 15 feet judging by where they reach on the mast while I'm in the trough. I copped a few into the cockpit today and learned that my cockpit drains are clogged. After some troubleshooting I found that the valve on one was closed. I was sitting in the cockpit steering when one of the waves came into the cockpit. So much for my squall shower yesterday!
I have been seeing more shipping lately. The AIS ship radar has been awesome. When there is a ship within range, an alarm sounds and the display shows me the ship's speed, direction and position. Thanks again to Dr. Lowenberg for researching this and arranging to have one put on my boat.
Have been studying the Torres Straits and trying to memorize my landmarks and waypoints. Talk about schoolwork...there is only pass or fail out here sometimes!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Squalls, Squalls and More Squalls

Yesterday I had 20-25 knots all day. I was running with it so it was a good ride and I was able to get some jobs done. At around 7pm I saw a squall on the radar and when I zoomed out I saw that it was over 24 miles wide. When I went out in the cockpit to get a look at it, it filled half of the horizon. Quickly I reefed and waited for it to hit. The wind dropped to about 15 knots for about 5 minutes and then it hit at about 30 knots and built to 35 knots constant with higher gusts. This first squall lasted about 2 hours. When it passed, I had about a 20 minute break before the second squall hit. This one was slightly more powerful than the previous one. By now it was dark and the only light came from the phosphoresence in the water from the big breaking swells. About 10 minutes into the second squall the lightning started all around the boat. It was closer and there was more than the last lightning storm. It went on all night getting hit by squall after squall and lightning flashing everywhere. Everything died down around 5 am but the minute I pulled up more sail and hit my bunk my AIS ship radar went off. So I was back up on lookout. Finally, the ship passed about 4 miles off my bow. I grabbed a couple hours sleep before I had another set of squalls and had to reef again.
I did catch about a gallon of water so I am looking forward to some good drinking water for now. We're still talking about possible stops and timing everything so I can be safe and still make good time. Thanks for the comments and emails. Good to know everyone is out there!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Just a note tonight from Mom:
It was a bit serious around here this morning as we waited for Zac's 12:30 - 1:00 'morning' call. He eventually called around 1:00 and let us know that his all-night navigating had gone well and that he was again in open ocean. He was somewhat incredulous that the wind and waves had calmed down so much. I reminded him that there must have been at least 1000 people praying for him. He was pretty amazed. He is also 'running' (wind and waves coming from behind the boat) with the wind and swells more now which makes the ride more comfortable. The swells are rolling again and not so steep. So he is tired but able to rest. Just one squall today.
He ran through all of his systems checking for problems. There is some chaffing on the windvane lines but nothing serious. Hans from Scanmar Marine called Laurence today and will be sending out some new lines for Darwin. The computer charger shocks him when he plugs it in so the laptop is not up but trusty Leviathan still works. His engine wouldn't start for some reason. He did as much troubleshooting as he could think of but just a groan and then nothing. He called tonight to let me know that he tried again and it started! While it is fairly calm he will add some bleach to his water tanks as it has become moldy and tastes awful.
Still working John Knight in Darwin and David Morris in Cape Cod to route Zac around and through the Coral Sea and the Torres Straits. Please keep this portion of Zac's trip in prayer. It is particulary difficult even if you aren't singlehanding.
Thank you for all the kind words and prayers.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


The wind has been strong (20-25kts) and the waves big (8-12feet) for the past 2 days. I spent some time yesterday before the wind really built up trying to clean the boat because it is getting pretty wet and still smells awful. Because the waves are breaking over the topsides even the tiniest hole is dripping water. I have been able to keep the electronics safe but I now have what seems like about 10 leaks over my bed.
Last night my ship's radar went off about 11pm. The ship wasn't using usual red and green running lights. This light set up helps you to know which direction the boat is going. This ship only had two white lights so I couldn't tell which direction it was heading. There was a lot of lightning around although it wasn't very close to me if counting seconds between the light flash and thunder is accurate. It was pretty eary to be watching out for this ship by the light of lightning. The seas have been confused, coming from different directions. Sometimes 2 waves will come towards each other and slam together. At night when they hit there is a spray of phosphoresence that goes everywhere including on the boat. It is really awesome. I finally got back to bed at 1am. I slept til 3am when my radar alarm sounded - another squall. I am getting very fast at reefing and can get all the sails reefed (shortened) and set in 2 minutes. It used to take me 15!
I slept through the radio net today but I did speak to Moana later this morning. They have caught the first fish. To make things worse it was a 40 pound Yellowfin Tuna. They have so much fish they can't eat it all before it will go bad. They have stopped at the island of Gizo in the Solomon Islands for a week.
Today I had sustained winds of 25 knots for most of the day. I had a squall hit me with 35 knots gusting to 40 knots. I ran up on deck to secure some lines. I didn't have time to put on a shirt. The rain was coming sideways and felt like pins hitting my skin. Before I was able to reef for this squall I was nearly knocked down because I still had so much sail up when it hit. I caught a lot of this on film. I don't know if it can capture how intense it really was though. At one point today I had water in both windows; one side because of being heeled over and the other side because of a huge wave smashing against it.
You could say it has been a rough week. I am so tired and I have to be extra vigilent because there are islands and reefs all around me. I am considering going hove to (Daveh will explain) so I can get some sleep. I have to wait until I am clear of some nav hazards first.
On a positive note, I ate some freeze dried food that my Grandma sent to me in Majuro. It was terriyaki chicken and rice and it was great. I have also been eating power bars and soup trying to keep up on eating because the weather is going to be pretty much the same for awhile as far as I can tell.
Mom says she has asked a lot of people to pray. Thanks for that. The seas have laid down this afternoon so I am hoping to get a good nap before some serious navigating tonight.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Note from Mom

Hey All!
Long day of squalls for Zac and some computer troubles. Fixed the one problem only to have salt water splash on the computer charger today! It is carefully drying so no power to the thing and no proper blog either.
He is making great time. He thinks he may be in a current because he is making such incredible speeds - 7 knots and up! The 3 hour swells have turned into walls and are coming more frequently which has been hard. The boat is getting quite wet. That with the heat has Zac a little frazzled. When I mentioned that this will be the hardest job he ever has, he replied, "No, not really. It's still pretty cool out here." WOW...

News from the homefront:
1. Ben turned one! He is a mini man.
2. The guys from Ocean Rescue TV who brought you the original video on the site are pouring through hours of video and earmarking clips (lots of clips) for the site. They should be up in a few weeks? Not sure on that but be assured that they will be good!
3. The web site is up and running after an unknown glitch that lasted most of the day yesterday. The media page and photo albums have been updated. There is a new page called Intrepid/FAQs. It has a lot of common questions with Zac's answers compiled for us by our own Zac Paccer (?) Marilyn from Woodland Hills! There is also a section on Intrepid that will be updated eventually. You boaties can fire Zac and Laurence all the questions you like.
4. We are still working on routing for Zac. Lots of 'if - then' situations. Will post his whereabouts as soon as responsibly possible.

We have been incredibly blessed during this venture and are in awe of all that God has done!
We love you guys. It takes half an hour to cut and paste all of your comments in the little emails that his sailmail can handle but he loves them!


PS The latest article from Karen. Don't you miss the photos?

PPS Sorry to all the very patient people who are trying to teach me how to enter this as an HTML-type link. I'm just too tired to figure it out tonight!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Squalls and Sweat

Latest Position 19 August 08 0436UTC: 7.28S, 167.14E

The wind lightened today to about 8 knots. I try not to be annoyed because I know that I've had great weather all-in-all. I still have a lot of squalls everyday. They are more of an annoyance than anything else. They do keep me clean. I get soaked everytime a squall passes which is good during the day but at night it is hard to go back to sleep after a squall because I am wet and cold. I have been drinking tons of rain water. Our friends the Nashes gave me a wide-mouthed water bottle before I left and I use that to catch water everytime a squall comes. It has been great for drinking between squalls because the water I catch off the sails tastes like sails somehow.

I have had a fast afternoon. For some reason I am going in the mid 7s. (7 knots) It must be a current or something. From time to time I get a wave right over the boat. It comes from the beam (side) and must be that the boat is in a trough and healing slightly but I can hear these big guys coming because there is a roaring sound. I can hear them breaking as well. I now call them 3 hour waves because I get one about every 3 hours. I have been eating pretty well but there isn't much that interests me. The Makwon from Majuro is great. It tastes like dried fruit with a mango and bubblegum flavor. It is really hearty though and gives good energy.

Chris on Moana and I have been talking a lot on the radio net. When we first head out we only talk for 15-20 minutes but now that we are out for so long we talk for an hour. We mostly talk about food and wind. It helps a lot to know that they are out there too and ging through many of the same things.

I don't have an ETA or an address for Darwin yet. I am trying to get rested and well fed before my passgae through the Torres Straights. Once through there I'll be able to know better when I'll arrive. I will have to stop posting my position soon for a time while I pass certain areas. I will keep track and post them when I am in a more secure area.

Thanks for your support!



Sunday, August 17, 2008

Today's Highlights: Spam and Sweat

Latest Position: 18August08 0331UTC 6.24S, 169.16E

Another night full of squalls. I haven't had a good sleep in a few days now. Today I tried to take care of a few jobs and rest. I am reading Passage Guide to the Torres Straights and Northern Territory Cruising Guide in preparation for next week. According to Clearpoint Weather there is a nasty weather system brewing down there. I'll need to keep my eyes on that and really rest up before arriving there. After I pass the Solomons in 450 miles it is only 1000 miles to the Torres Straights. There was a time when 450 miles seemed like a huge distance. Now 1000 miles is a week, no problem!
Today' weather is good. I've got a steady 12-15 knots. I've been heading more westward now and the angle has been more comfortable though I am still rolling and bashing more than I would like. Moana is nearing their next port of Ghizo in the Solomon Islands. We had a good laugh yesterday about our conditions. Everyone has heard of the Roaring 40s. The area at 40 degrees south where the wind and seas roar. We are in the Sweating 5s. I swear my whole boat smells like sweat.
No fish this morning. I feel better because Moana lost their fish as well. I had to resort to Spam today. My next boat will definitely have a freezer.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Fish That Got Away

Latest Position 0610UTC 17 August 08: 4.27S, 169.52E

Since I crossed the equator I have had great wind and am making a good 6 knot average. The squalls are a lot higher in intensity and speed down here but by now I'm a lot better at judging their intensity and faster at reefing. Moana has had light winds and has been motoring for days on end.
The heat has dissipated a little bit with the increase in wind. It is almost a full moon now and that helps me be able to see squalls at night but its crazy when the black squall clouds block out the moon and everything goes black. There were a lot of squalls last night so I didn't get much sleep.
The wind is lightening now so hopefully I'll have a better night. The wind angle combined with the swells have had Intrepid pushing through a lot of waves. It is like being power washed for 48 hours. Now there is a small leak right over my bed!
I did catch a Barracuda in the early morning but I was too tired to pull it in so I left it for the morning. I got the old barracuda recipe from my mom on the phone and was going to eat it for breakfast but when I pulled it in it was gone along with half of the lure!
I don't think this officially counts as catching a fish but I thought there were people who may be interested to know.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Zac the Shellback

Latest Position 0337UTC 16August08: 01.55S, 170.18E

So yesterday I had pretty light winds between 4-8 knots on the nose from my rhumbline to my next waypoint. It was a long day of tacking and dodging squalls. I finished rigging up some new lures with metal leaders and new hooks. I'm hoping to pick something up soon.
As the day went on the winds gradually shifted in a direction that I could make good progress toward the waypoint without tacking. I crossed over the equator about 8pm with full sail up going about 7 knots running from a squall with a ship 6 miles off my bow. When I crossed he equator, I filled a cup with rain water, toasted to King Neptune and ran up on deck to reef before the squall hit hard. The squall only had about 25 knots but the rain lowered the visibility to almost nothing which would have been no problem if the ship wasn't so close. The radar is pretty much useless in a squall because it picks up all the rain clouds. The whole radar screen for 8 miles around was the color of a solid object. Luckliy it blew over quickly and the ship passed 3 miles off my beam.

After the squall the wind stayed relatively strong at 15 knots so I left a reef in the main, pulled out full genoa and flew along at 7 knots with no squalls. Being in the Southern Hemisphere is pretty much the same as the Northern so far. I am actually officially in winter now. Winter with 90 dgree weather and way too much humidity. Anyway, I am now a shellback and it feels good to pass another milestone on the way back home.



PS Yes, Warren I received the fishing gear. Thanks!

PPS Another great article from Pat Reynolds:

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Doldrums

Latest Position: 0304UTC 15August08 00.12N, 170.51E

Another good day. The sun is so hot here! I haven't had much wind and what I do have is right on the nose. I am happy enough because I don't have any lightning storms. I've had a few squalls but they didn't last long so I still haven't crossed the equator. I'm hoping to cross sometime tonight.

I have been meeting Chris and John off Moana on the radio everyday. They haven't had any wind and haven't crossed the equator either. We are having a bet to see who can catch the first fish. Flying fish (my specialty) don't count. I've been sorting out my tackle today. I've got 2 lines out even though I am really going too slow to troll. I need to try not to be the only person to sail around the world without catching a fish. Thanks Pete!

I tried to get on the Sheila Net from Australia today but wasn't close enough and needed a relay to talk so I decided to wait until I'm a little closer. It is hard to get up by 7:00am to make the Rag on the Air Net. Sorry guys! I'll try again tomorrow. I'm often up in the night so I don't just wake up at dawn anymore.

According to David, current satellite images show quite a few areas of convection nearby but nothing real close. I definitely have been well-guided and protected on my journey. I really have so much to be grateful for. There are way too many people to thank. I couldn't do this trip without everyone who is advising, coaching, encouraging etc.

But for now, I am going 3 knots off course in the blazing hot sun and there is another squall coming that looks like trouble. That is all for today.



Link to LA Times article (without all the cool pics):,0,6815518.column

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

In the Groove Again

Latest Position: 01.17N, 170.47E 0313UTC 2013PDT 14 August 08

(80 miles from the equator)

I'm getting in the groove much quicker on this leg. It helps to have some wind to keep me moving. I've been busy interviewing with different people. I think there will be an article in the LA Times tomorrow in the Sports section that is if they can squeeze me in between the Olympic stories. Pete Thomas has been great to work with.

I had a good night's sleep last night because the wind had died down some. The Clearpoint Weather forecast shows light wind to nothing all around me but I have had a steady 11 knots most of the day and so am moving along pretty well. There haven't been any squalls today but I am ready with my buckets to catch some fresh drinking water. I did see a fishing boat today. I wasn't able to speak to them so I don't know where they were going but it was good to see the AIS radar was still working. Speaking of equipment, my solar panels are putting out more power than the batteries can take. Thanks to Mike Smith and Tom Brown in North Carolina for putting that right. Now as I check my email and talk on the SSB radio, I hope that it stays that way. The sun has been high and hot.

I have been eating well. The day I left, Carla came out to see me off with her grandparents. Her grandmother gave me a basket of drinking coconuts and spongy coconuts and some dried fruit roll that the ancient Marshallese mariners used to take on board their long passages. The drinking coconuts are excellent and have helped my stomach ache. Other than that I have been eating a lot of fruit and some Goober Grape peanut butter and jelly that I scored at the market in Majuro.

Moana is on a different tack from me headed straight for the Solomon Islands. They have no wind and a lot of fuel and so have been motor sailing all day. I am headed straight for the equator and will tack gradually westward once I am 'safely' in the southern hemisphere. There are areas of convection all around me but so far I have only seen one lightning strike and that was pretty far away.

I have been thinking about what I will do when I cross the equator. Chris from Moana is thinking about swimming across. It is so hot here I would really like to jump in but don't worry, I won't. The tradition says that you should offer something to King Neptune who is the Roman version of the Greek god of the sea, Poseidon. Tune in tomorrow to hear what I decided! I should pass early in my morning.



Note from Mom:

Two things:

Here is a link to a fantastic photo essay of Zac's week in the Marshalls by photographer Jen Edney:

She also has a great essay on the prearation stage of Zac's trip at:

Also, the Photo Gallery is up and working on the web site. We will be adding more photos now that a format has been chosen and uploaded to the site. Any comments you have on how they are working would be appreciated.

Good Night!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Zac's Blog

Latest Position: 03.38N, 170.52E at 08/13/2008 2209UTC

Alright, so I'm under way again and finally have some time to type up a blog.

So far, since leaving Majuro, I've had pretty light winds and some very big squalls. Yesterday afternoon there was one that was 6 miles wide and packed with 25 knots and torrential rain. It lasted for 2 hours. I've been thinking of different ways to collect the water for drinking etc. I even had a shower up on deck. I am headed directly south to cross the equator and get out of the northern hemisphere with all of its stormy squalls. After passing through the ITCZ, the Intertropical Convergence Zone, I'll head more south west and then west on into either Papua New Guinea or straight through to Darwin.

It was hard to leave Majuro. I had such a good time there. It was great to see everybody and to meet the people of Majuro. They are very quiet and shy. They were very friendly though and would buy me drinks if they met me in town.

The atoll is very big in diameter but the actual land area is so small. You can see from one side to the other when standing in town! I am still working on my understanding of Marshallese history.

There are a lot of people that I would like to thank. Especially, Karen Ernshaw and Cary Everts from Seal, all the cruisers, especially the Rag of the Air crew, the Meico Beach Yacht Club and Collette and Ramsey from the Robert Reimers Hotel.

Here is the summary of my stay in Majuro.

Day 1:

I got in to the atoll around 5:30pm and was led in by the boat holding my dad and camera crew and sailed up the inside to the mooring area. I chose to motor sail to make it to the mouth of the atoll by dark rather than have to stand off for 12 hours. It was dark by the time I got very far inside and I got way too close to an unlit derelict ship. I only saw it when it was 50 yards off - a little scarey. As I approached the mooring, three dinghies came out to help me tie up so I was hooked up in no time. I went down below and shut off all the electronics, grabbed my customs paperwork and headed to shore. I was greeted by my dad, Greg, Jen, Chris and John off Moana, Karen, the customs agent and small crowd of Marshallese. After saying hey to everyone and shaking a few hands we headed up to The Tide Table which is the restarant at the hotel. I got a burger and shake and tried not to space out too much while everybody around me talked and talked and talked...After I finished I went out to the hotel room and went to sleep. It is a bit hard to sleep solid for more than a few hours at first but it is great to be able to go back to sleep and not get up and check the boat.

Day 2:

In the morning I went down to breakfast and met a local family and got my pic taken with them. That's where I met Carla who I ended up hanging out with during my stay. She was born in Majuro but is away during the year at college in Oregon. After breakfast I went back to my boat with Greg and got my dinghy in the water and headed back to the hotel. We pretty much just hung out most of the day. Before dinner we went snorkling right off the hotel. It was pretty murky but the water was really warm. It made Hawaii seem cold. While diving, I saw a Moray Eel, a ton of sea urchins and an old back hoe. Yeah, that's right, a John Deer, massive back hoe! Don't ask me how it got to be 100 feet off shore and in 15 feet of water but it was and I dove down and stood inside the scoop. I really like the tropical weather here. It's always warm even when it rains.

Ok now this was Greg's last day and he still needed a lot of footage so I had a pretty packed day. First we met with the president of the Marshall Islands. You already read about this from Karen's article in Pacific Magazine. We went in through an open back door, up four stories of steps and into the waiting room to see the president. Five minutes later we were led through to his office. We met and talked for about five - ten minutes. He had done a lot of sailing as a boy and told me about some of his trips.

Greg Lawson interviewing me
Then we headed out to a restaurant to try some local food. Carla came to help us order. The first round was breadfruit which tastes like a potato. Then we ate this creamy stuff that is like bread pudding made with coconut milk. The highlight of the meal was the pork blood and liver that Carla assured me was great. I later found out she had never tried it before. Oh well, it all tasted pretty strange even after living off my own cooking for 16 days!

Traditional foods
After lunch we headed to this place called Youth to Youth. It's a kind of teen center. Anyway, they sang and we danced and had a good time. After that we headed to the Canoe House and sailed some taditional canoes. There wasn't much wind and it was raining but the boat still went along really fast. We sailed for 45 minutes or so and then we headed back to the hotel and got in some dry clothes. I went to go meet Carla at a local club where we shot some pool with some of her friends until the power went out at 9:00pm. Then we met up with some more of her friends and drove around looking for power but when there is only one power plant on the island that means no power anywhere. Oh well, I went back to the hotel and had an early night.

Dancing with the locals
The Canoe House
Day 4:
Greg's plane was delayed a day so we shot some more film and did some repairs on the boat. I went skating around town however, I hardly got out of the parking lot before I realized the shortage of skatable surfaces on the island. Most all of the streets were cracked and there were no sidewalks but it was fine because a cab only costs one dollar to go anywhere in town. That night we went to the Meico Beach Yacht Club where I was made an honorary member for life and given $200 which was awsome! We had pizza and I told them about my trip thus far.
Day 5:
I picked up my mail today. Last estimate was over 300 hundred letters and a few packages. I am saving them for when I am under way again. Thank you to everyone who sent them. I don't think I'll be able to thank you each by name! The people who owned the hotel where we were staying, Colette and Ramsey Reimers, let us go to their private island to snorkel. The caretaker took us out in a panga. When we got there we grabbed our snorkles, masks and spear guns and got out on the reef. It was amazing! There were tons of amazing coral and reef fish. Nothing worth spearing though. After a good time on the island we headed back and I went to hang out with Carla and a couple of her friends, Kiyona and Kily
Day 6:
We fueled the boat and met with the United States ambassador. The embassy was interesting. It was all fortified and there were a lot of guards standing watch around the building. I talked with the ambassador for quite awhile and he had someone from the embassy drive us to a farm at the end of the island where I stocked up on fresh fruit and veggies for the trip. This was great because a lot of the other fresh food at the stores has been shiped here and is already pretty old. Hopefully this stuff will last a bit longer than my Hawaii provisions.

Day 7:
In the morning we got some more work done on the boat and cleared out of customs and immigration. My Dad flew out and I went back to the boat and finished up the last things I needed to do for my departure. Carla and some of her friends took me out for my last night in Majuro.

Day 8:

Today was a hard day. My dad, Jen and Greg had gone home. My stomach, which had been bothering me for days (maybe something I ate?) felt worse because of how nervous I was feeling about setting out. The forecaster, David Morris, was called to England suddenly and had not been able to give me a forecast and storm watch. I hadn't been able to pick up the newly wired solar panel regulator that Tom Brown and Mike Smith had sent over (it was stuck in customs). I finally decided to wait a day and pick up the rest of my mail, rest and prep the boat a bit more. Moana left at noon but it is probably better that we are not so close together anyway. Wouldn't want to bump into each other at night!

Day 9: Felt better today. Still no weather report from David but mom was able to contact another meteorologist who had offered his help and he checked out the scene. All looked good so at noon, after Cary from Seal came by and helped me stow my dinghy and outboard, I sailed back into the Pacific rollers and my lonely life at sea.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

New Media Links

Zac is well on his way and settling in. He is working on his blog but has limited computer time due to low power because of the cloudy skies and light winds (and running his fridge too long!)

There are a couple of interesting media links that I thought you all might enjoy. One is an interview we did with Sunrise 7 which is Australia's Good Morning America. The other is the final article from Karen Earnshaw in Majuro.


Sunrise 7:

Karen Earnshaw/Pacific Magazine:

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Goodbye Majuro

Warning! Post from Mom :)

It has been a busy couple of days with Laurence and Zac working and visiting and never a dull moment. Everyday it rains (pours actually) in Majuro. After the rain, it is hot! Both Laurence and Zac enjoyed their stays in the Marshall Islands. Zac will elaborate on his impressions of Majuro in a few days. He was meant to leave Majuro and head south yesterday but was still feeling sick from a stomach bug and nervous that he wasn't stowed and really ready. He left today at noon Majuro time to sail under a firm breeze out of the atoll and back into the Pacific tradewinds. He follows a day behind Moana who is headed for the Solomon Islands. They will remain in touch as long as possible with Zac heading west after the Solomons and into the Northern Australia Territory and Moana continuing south to Cairns, Australia and home. Laurence arrived home late last night full of stories and photos. The web site is preparing for some updates and will have some video and photos soon but for now I will post some of the photos that Laurence brought back.

Zac entering the anchorage.

Intrepid at anchor

Zac at the Canoe House

Zac dancing with some local youth

Pigs liver in blood (and Carla!)

Greg from Itik Productions enjoying the local cuisine

Jen Edney - photographer
Beautiful day on the beach

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Majuro - Day 5 & 6

Finally had a good connection this evening. Laurence achieved this by holding the mobile antenna overhead with a metal ashtray stuck to the bottom of the antenna and Zac by going outside and attaching the antenna to a car!
I think I left off at the Mieco Beach Yacht Club dinner on Tuesday night. Zac was given a warm welcome including a catered pizza dinner. I believe he said he spoke to the members and that they awarded him one of their burgees (club flag) along with $200.00.
He and Laurence spent a good part of the day working on the boat and went for a dive afterwards. The owners of their hotel, the Reimers family, offered for the guys to dive off of their private island. The diving is incredible and reminds Laurence of his days diving the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. They did dive on a few wrecks; one of the wrecks was a large crane. Unfortunately, Zac missed out on the Majuran drivers license. They are only open one day a week.
Today Zac and Laurence met with US Embassy Ambassador Bishop. They spent a few hours visiting and then drove to the end of the atoll which actually took about an hour. There they were given permission to enter the Taiwanese Embassy grounds where there is a sizeable farm and picked all kinds of different fruits from their trees there. This is great considering that Zac will be leaving in 2 days.
More talk of work and routing. Zac finally went to the post office where Laurence reports at least 100 letters and postcards! Not sure if we will be able to name all of your names. Thank you! Zac is blown away and will save most of them to read along his next passage which looks today like it will be direct to Darwin, Australia. Mr. John Knight, author of The Northern Territory Cruising Guide has offered help in routing Zac and assistance in Darwin once he arrives. Zac will be studying these guides diligently once he departs Majuro this weekend.

OK...thank you for your patience. You were all very polite not to post worried comments even though these posts are later and later!

Marianne for Zac

PS. Another article from Karen Earnshaw in Majuro:

Monday, August 4, 2008

Majuro - Day 3 & 4

Finally heard from Zac today.

Terrible connection and lots of stories. I had to keep interrupting him to ask him questions and understand what he was talking about. I'll try to sum up his last few days and hopefully he'll have time to elaborate soon.

Day 3

Zac was able to meet with the president of the Marshall Islands who is a sailor also. Karen Earnshaw published this article with photos of the event.

Photo by Karen Earnshaw

They ate lunch at a traditional Marshallese restaurant. The menu was interesting...Pig liver in blood (no joke), breadfruit (looks like pineapple tastes like potato), IQ, a bread pudding-type dish made with coconut milk, fermented coconut juice, and fish (whole with eyes).

They met with a local youth organization who sang traditional songs and danced - pulling Zac out of his chair to dance with them! I am looking forward to seeing that!

Photo by Karen Earnshaw

Went to the Canoe House. This is where the locals build traditional sailing canoes. They are made without screws and lashed together with string made on the atoll. Zac was able to go out sailing with some of the guys. There was only 5 knots of wind yet the canoe still went 5 knots! Zac was impressed.

Photo by Karen Earnshaw

Zac's new friend (from the photo yesterday) took him for a drive to the end of the atoll. It took 10 minutes! They met a few of her friends for pizza and pool until the power went out - on the entire atoll! That was the end of that.

Day 4

Zac got officially cleared through customs and immigration. They met up with a group of teachers volunteering for one year to teach in Majuro. One of the teachers was somehow related to the tattoo artist in town and offered Zac a free island tattoo. Zac went down to the shop to have a look but was promptly chewed out by Laurence for even considering it! Glad I wasn't there for that!

Zac met the brother of the guy who prepares the driver's license. They will see about that tomorrow.

The operator of the water purification plant donated 40 gallons of good drinking water for Zac's boat which is a blessing.

Laurence and Zac worked on the boat in the afternoon.

Tonight is supposed to be a big evening at the local yacht club.

Sorry for the lack of details. Have assigned Zac to write of his impressions and experiences and also a history of the Marshall Islands. For now, he will be getting Intrepid ready to head out and planning for his next landfall still to be determined...

Thanks for all the support and encouragement today. You are the nicest bunch of people. Wow!


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Majuro - Day 2

For some reason, Zac is having a hard time finding time to write! I did speak to him this morning via sat phone very briefly as the local weather conditions were causing his reception to be intermittent. Day 2 was spent resting, eating, bathing and cleaning the boat. This, by the way, was documented by cameraman Greg Lawson. Speaking as a mother this is some footage that I'd really like to see! Then again, maybe not... Zac also has been amazed and so blessed by the local people and cruisers for their kindness and generosity. People stop him for photographs and to by him a drink. He has so many great stories to tell. Things like the chef of the restaurant preparing his order first before the other diners and presenting it himself along with a mountainous ice cream shake! He is hoping to have time tonight to blog but the schedule sounded pretty tight with Greg flying out tomorrow. He'll have the rest of the week to relax and visit.

The e-commerce site for Zac's T-shirts was picked up as a sponsorship by a member of the Zac Pac, Qbaroo. Jasmine offered to host his site so that the T-shirts could get online quickly and efficiently which is the name of the game here! Here is the link to our new e-commerce site:
There will be a link on Zac's web site and a link on the blog soon.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Majuro - Day 1

Latest Position August 2, 2008 1100UTC 7.08N, 171.22E

I spoke with Laurence briefly this afternoon. He had 6 minutes left on what ever phone he was using. He received a warm welcome at the Robert Reimers Hotel in Majuro. As you know, the hotel sponsored 3 beautiful rooms and a rental car during Zac's stay. Their web site has some fabulous photos. They even took Laurence, Greg and Jen out on their boat to meet Zac as he approached the entrance to Majuro. Then it was a 10 mile motor through the pass that leads to the main town in Majuro.

Laurence hooked up right away with the local cruisers. Journalist, Karen Earnshaw, has been a tremendous help in organizing for Zac's arrival including arranging for immigration officials to meet Zac on shore on Saturday evening. She is an excellent writer and has been covering Zac's story for weeks writing in the weekly Majuran newspaper. She also writes for Pacific Magazine and has forwarded her latest article fresh with photos! Click here to read all the details, first hand!

Laurence asked me to mention the kindness of the local cruisers who assisted Zac onto his mooring in the dark and are shuttling him to shore and back until he sorts out his dinghy. He says the hospitality of the local people is just awesome.

I'm afraid that is all I will hear for today. I am used to speaking with Zac twice a day and am missing talking to him (and Laurence)!

Many Thanks,

Friday, August 1, 2008

Land Ho Majuro!

Update from Mom

Greetings to the Zac Pac!

It has been a hectic day for Zac with light winds this morning threatening his daytime arrival in Majuro. Once he enters the atoll of Majuro, he still has to motor 10 miles through a channel surrounded by reefs to get to the Yacht Club and his mooring. He decided to motor sail for awhile to get himself further along. All was well until the motor died. He checked the fuel filter which was clogged, changed it, filled it with fuel and fired her up. Five minutes later the engine died again. The fuel filter had no fuel which meant no fuel was getting to the filter. Zac eventually, after a few well-placed phone calls, took the fuel line off the filter and sucked and blew until fuel came pouring into his mouth and out his nose! I didn't hear even a hint of a complaint as he was merrily motoring along under full sail headed for Majuro. Last we spoke he was planning on entering the atoll around 5:00pm Majuro time which is 11:00pm here in California. I am not expecting a blog tonight but will get more info in the late morning tomorrow. His only concern was that he hadn't kept the boat very tidy, which must be why he hasn't mentioned cleaning up on this leg. I told him that no one should judge him but that they probably would so he'd better clean up! I'll get the full story from Laurence tomorrow. Laurence, Greg from Itik and Jen Edney, photographer and happily house at the Robert Reimers Hotel in downtown Majuro. Laurence was on the run but said it was beautiful. So that is all we get for tonight. I'll get something posted tomorrow as soon as I can.


PS. Don't make T-shirts yet! We have 900 left from the Boat Show which should be available on line by next week.

Photo by
T-shirts: 2 designs on 2 colors